tv [untitled] June 16, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT
improprieties that can be exposed. i must remind you that i informed you of this obvious malfeasance. any filly to act immediately on this threat to the health and safety of the people who live and work in san francisco will unfortunately spread the taint of malfeasance. if you are willing to forgo your civic obligations, i cannot strongly recommended that you consider your legal exposure. on top of all else, i urge you to do the right thing. i would like to recommend to all commissioners and city attorneys represented to seek legal counsel regarding this matter. thank you. >> any other public comment? >> good morning. my name is sandra burnback. i am a tenant in an sro. the problems i have had are
extensive. 34 violations of notice and the building in the three-year. period. just to talk about 3 recently. no heat for eight days. no electricity for seven days. no hot water for five days. i have contacted dbi and i have to say the inspectors have been there promptly, they did their job. the issue a notice of violation, and the process stops. nothing happens. i have gone as far as going into ms. day's office after five days without electricity, and that had raised a stink. senior staff finally got out there. they said, a pg&e could not get out there. well, they were there within one hour once i got to ms. day's
office. then they found out they did not have permits for the work. the process does not work. i met with mr. sweeney and his senior staff. they tell me the only thing they can do is issue a notice of violation. they have no way to compel the landlord to make repairs. eventually, they go to a director's hearing and eventually they will be penalized. the penalty they have is nothing. in these three cases, they have not been penalized in any way. if they do not have the ability to force the landlord to make the repair, then we have to do something. we need to get legislation to do it. if you can do it, you have to direct them to do this. these are health and safety issues. these are not issues of [inaudible]
this is health and safety. i aske you, how many days which you like to go without heat, when during that time the high temperature was 54 degrees? i am asking the commission. what is a reasonable time to repair no heat, or no hot water or electricity? commissioner lee: why don't we do this. this topic seems to -- why don't you have a seat and sit in on the next item and see what is being discussed. how we handle the notice of violations.
>>item 5. update on dbi's notice of violation (nov) procedures, including follow up. is there any additional public comment on item 4? seeing none, public comment is closed. we are now on item five. >> good morning, commissioners. ed sweeney. director of inspection services. i will give you a brief overview of the complaints, what generally happens to them. if i can get it up on the screen.
all the complaints, of course, start as a complaint. they can be landlord-tenant, such as the heat issue. it can be neighbor versus neighbor. neighborhood organizations. some people actually self- report building code issues on themselves. there is an emergency call out from police and fire that we get once or twice a week. when a complaint comes in, it is put on a standard form. as i said earlier, the standard form goes to one senior building inspector, housing inspector that is responsible for prioritizing and insuring the correct person does the
inspections in a timely manner. there is also systematic enforcement. that would be the routine housing inspections, the boiler program, condo conversion, sprinkler ordinance, things of that nature. once we go out onto a site with a complaint that has a number, then we ascertain whether or not the complaint is valid. if it is valid, we need to prioritize it. if it is for no heat, they would be given 24 hours to comply. of course, we would have to send letters, phone calls to the owner, manager, if there is one. if the issue is not dealt with satisfactorily, we give a second notice of violation.
a second notice of violation clears the way for a director's hearing. directors hearings are every thursday. at 9:00, room 2001. that is probably where the breakdown occurs. getting them to a director's hearing takes about one week. of course, the building code allows us to go in and actually do the repairs. in my 12 years, that has been almost nonexistent. we are careful not to do that. it is hard to get reimbursed. it is going to take us probably a good deal longer than the property owner to go in there and do the work.
we do not have anybody on call, the way the system works, so we would have to go out and find somebody. once you are in code enforcement and you have an order of abatement against your building, you are given specific amount of time to do the repairs, get a permit, if one is required, and then get it signed off. if not, you get an order of abatement on your property. what an order of abatement will do, the lender is notified, it will be hard to get a loan. it will be harder to sell your property, especially these days. notice of violation, it can be times 9, work without a permit,
times two, work without scope. vacant buildings, 1st 30 days, there is no penalty if you comply. it just depends on the nature of the complaint and the inspector going out there. we try to get reasonable amount of time. people do have to obtain permits, coordinate the work, do the work, and finish it and get the necessary sign-ons and coordinate the necessary inspections. it all takes time. the assessment of cost, penalties. the assessment of cost now goes from the time of inspection. when you are clearing your violations, one of the things
you must do is we ensure you have been the penalties and compensated us for staff time. that is done when you have your permit abated. if it keeps going and there is no action after the order of abatement, we can refer to the city attorney, and we do on a regular basis. we have committee hearings meeting bimonthly. is there a list of repeated violators, given certain categories, there are owners of buildings looking to selling their buildings. there is a continued maintenance and care and the district inspectors would be aware of that.
>> this particular case has an antiquated boilers system. when it was brought to my attention, we have one person who specializes in boilers. he brought back some pictures and issued a notice of violation. there was a lot of asbestos and we told him to clear that out. he identified certain things that had to be updated on the system and we expect they will probably get a new system in there. >> can i talk about responding to these complaints and how the owners fix them quickly? you talked about having outside contractors go in there and fix --
>> of the code allows us to do it. >> is there anyway we can implement that? >> there are very few that they would not step forward and fix the heat. this particular property owner, it seems to be problematic and we have sent down a boiler specialist and there is a notice of violation on that particular boiler and we are following through with it. >> if the process for the property owner is to appeal -- it sounds as if they are -- it sounds like they know the process and they're dragging it out to the last possible moment to fix something.
is there any way to push them all little more and say don't drag this out. threaten them that we are going to go in and do this work. >> that is always the threat. >> is a long process to go out and look for a contractor to do the work. >> for things like heat and hot water, anything that is dangerous, we shorten the process as much as we can. >> how do we shorten that? >> by only giving them 24 hours. >> if you give them 24 hours and they do not do it, do we go find a contractor? >> we have not done that in the 12 years i have been year. i take that back. i know of one case and we still have not got our money back.
>> is there a list of contractors available that can do that for the department? >> the city has emergency contractors. >> there is? >> but they would still have to get access and they would still have to mobilize. >> i agree that there is a very small percentage of those who are not doing this stuff. i agree that -- do we have any money in the fund for this sort of thing? >> yes. but it was depleted until six months ago. the director put a lot of effort into getting funds available for that.
>> i agree that this really small% should be paid, step up to the plate, whatever means necessary, have a list of 10 small renovation contractors, you can get a bit off of each one of them and get the work done and then go to the assessor's office or whenever you have to do to collect. if this small percentage of landlords know the program is there, i think they are going to get results much faster. >> probably -- a big job that we did on would street depleted the
program's funds and certainly the last three or four years, we did not have the funds to do that. we are -- we have some large projects coming in and they have made it a priority to get funds for the program. >> we can talk about that later in the next item of the budget. this could maybe be something we want to implement. >> this might be good for everybody, especially if we can charged the owner two times or three times the cost. it gives them an incentive to do it on their own and do it quickly instead of waiting for a city contractor and a city contractor would probably appreciate that type of work and maybe we can get some revenue
out of it also. >> we will have to form some kind of criteria. to say we will do that would be putting false hope out there. >> is there a point where the 60,000 that had been expended is now a loss or is there continued collection? >> the city attorney is on it. you cannot sell or transfer the property without us being reimbursed. but it is now a vacant lot. >> we heard the speaker of the minutes ago. it's mostly heat and light. it's not a big item. a new boiler and heater. >> it would be a huge boiler.
>> large buildings are supposed to be managed properly. 99.9% of the market managed properly. >> maybe it's something we should put on the agenda for another meeting. >> i would like to request the director to come back to where there might be a solution to that least progress from where what has been done in the past that has not yielded the results in a progressive way so we could continue putting money into the dark cold here that will accumulate over time, something that takes more time from the city attorney and staff.
there is a solution or a recommendation, something that might be good. >> maybe we could get some numbers and get a perspective on how prevalent the problem is. we are only talking about 1% of property owners. >> it may be instead of the category being so broad, there are going to be those property owners who are not incentivized to do the upgrades or corrections because they will never sell their buildings. whether through deferred maintenance they would rather continue with a blind eye and deaf ears at the expense of the tenants. maybe there is an
interdepartmental communications by which -- if those public housing or other locations are incentivized or triggered -- >> there is probably a way we could add a step to the code enforcement process so that we would be able to go in, perform the work, be reimbursed on a different method rather than waiting for the sale. we could do it on a different basis and i can explore that with the city attorney and other jurisdictions to see how they can handle it. >> i agree with that. they could never sell a property and basically we are looking at the collection to never ever take place.
>> can i ask the city attorney unquestioned? is it possible for the department to collect the rent for a month to pay for that? >> i think the director outlined the difficulty in trying to collect whether it is only fees that are owned or if the city is seeking reimbursement. there is a lean process and unfortunately, it is called a judgment lien. they are not paid off -- we cannot go out after rent. there is a possibility you could increase penalties the longer the amount is due, you may be
able to incentives so there -- they can pay it off before the property sale. this is a regular problem that all city departments are facing. >> i know there are assessment costs put on two properties, but they are paid through property- tax as. could we do the same thing here? >> we could look into that. there are some state law procedures that limit what kinds of actions can be pursued rather than a judgment lane. not all violations of local law could be pursued in that way. >> i would like to ask if
whether the category here, the difference by the public on the violation and this not only is a health safety issue but also on the light category because it seems to run a parallel course that's violations that require capitalization of costs. at a certain point, if there is negligence by the public, the proper agencies goes and then makes the correction. it goes into this whole category of the tax lien and judgment lien and it would be great if you can or the director can may be at the next meeting make some
categories of what are possibilities of where code and a or a legislation or policy adjustments can be made necessary to correct this. we seem to be continuing to do the same thing over and over again and we're not getting any results. given we are at a point of this negative direction, i would like to neutralize it is not get into a category that would move both the department and incentivize property owners, especially those who are not going to look toward selling their property but in the long term can say keep doing the improvements. i'm not going to do anything because i'm never going to sell my property therefore you're doing my work for me. >> we would probably bring in
our code enforcement team which is one of the groups within the city attorney's office. we may have a number of attorneys involved and have different experience, so it might be to meetings out. >> at least a global by which we can get our arms around it and from there we could work out the details because the legislative policy would be something we could enact or enforce at some targeted date in the future. >> i would be a little bit leery of getting into the construction business. you would have to have the backing of the city management and let's say we got out there and spent $100,000 and we would need to be able to do their
refunded back from the general fund, otherwise this could get too big and get out of hand and we would end up having to raise fees to cover it and i believe the customers are paying hi-fis enough at the moment. we have to be careful how we tread here. it is something that should definitely be explored. >> is there any public comment? >> it quick question. >> you were talking about getting access ability to the building. what does it take to get a
contractor in there? does the share of have to escort them? >> we have the right of entry if we have reasonable cause. of us having the right to get in there and the door being opened are two different things. west month -- there are practicalities to this. you have to get a contractor. he has to come out there and i would imagine we would have to get multiple bids. you would have to get three people out there and get the bid and award him the contract for what ever it is. i was out on mission street at the tower theater one month ago during the time of high wind that we had enough fire department and police department were there and we had stainless steel blades -- that is what you actually
called the signed portion and it is wrapped in sheet metal and it is painted. it came loose during though wind and it was threatening to come down. fire would not go near it. police are providing security, so they called us. i go out there and i don't have any safety equipment. i called to people on the list. neither pick up, so i called the third and finally got somebody. he told me it was seen good tamayo and most of his crew was out. he made some phone calls and we got a bucket to assess and we managed to put some straps on it. is that way today. but there is a lot of practicalities, all lot of coordination that needs to be done. we are not in the construction
business. i can see there is room for improvement and room for a repeat offender for a building owner that has clearly shown no ambition to fix the problem. if you could see the boiler, it is probably the original boiler and this building was built in bed 1900's. that the boiler should have been replaced 20 years ago. looks like something that should be in a museum. i was surprised when i sought. -- when i saw it. >> just keep in mind that each year, we notify all properties that have not paid their initial fees from